How do you Engage your Wife with New Family Ideas?

When you hear a little insight, maybe, from one of these podcasts or another podcast or book you’re reading or something you read in scripture, and you’re like, “Oh, I want my family to do this.” How do you engage your wife? Do you run home and say, “Honey, let’s do this. I decided that we’re going to do X from now on.”

Is that the right way when she hasn’t had any time to really come up to speed with what you’re thinking about, what you’re dreaming about? I had a friend that after seeing dads… And again, this is a good problem to have, that you’re thinking of intentionality, you want to lead your family, but there’s a problem with that particular approach. The way that he described it was, when you’re engaging your wife, it can’t sound like a decision. It needs to begin a journey. I was like, “Ooh, that’s really important to hear.”

I think, oftentimes, I have done this where I get excited about an idea. I’m like, “Sweet, let’s get my family on board.” This happened recently with a new gathering that we wanted to start. I got really excited about it, but April was like, “I’m not sure we’re ready for that.” And we went through, literally, about a two to three month journey to launch this thing because I wanted to make sure that she was 100% comfortable and onboard. But man, five, ten years ago, it would have felt like a decision came out of left field.

That is not super healthy. And so, I love that my friend Justin has been really teaching guys to think about this as a process and not just a decision that you have to make. Because our wives need to… They’ve got a lot to add to whatever this difference or change might be. But, they also need to be completely bought in.

You need to be leading your family as a team. That means that you’re not a tyrant. That you didn’t just come up with an idea and you’re going to enforce it the next minute. But, Jeff, how have you guys worked through this one?

Yeah. This has been a fun growing pain for us because I just move really fast. So then, decisions then can come really fast. See, how the way we’ve learned is exactly what you said is, excuse me, is you have to… I come earlier, not come late now. Right? I’m going to come earlier to her now in the process, not come on once I’ve already thought through it all, because that just never goes well.

I used to do it where I thought it was helping her by me thinking through all the peculiarities, all the intricacies, so I didn’t burden her with that. And then I would just come with the finish line of, “Hey, we’re going to do this. I’ve thought through everything. Can you just sign off on it?”

That never went well because she would also then have all the questions that I already processed. Then, I would be really short because I’m like, “Oh, I already thought about that. I already thought about that, already thought about that. We’re good.” She’s like, “Well, then why are you asking me?” It’s just goes in this weird circle.

So, I’ve learned that the minute I have a thought, I actually want to process with her now. And like you said, it’s invaluable to do so. I was leading us down a bad path whenever I made more singular decisions because we’re a team. And so for a team, then that means we want to absolutely leverage the assets of all the teammates. I have some huge gaps and weaknesses that she covers. And so, that’s what I would say.

And the one thing I would say, too, that I learned it, and I’m still learning, is almost 9 times out of 10, if there’s a frustration here, meaning if I come home with a gung-ho idea and she puts on the brakes or if I have an idea and she just disagrees with it, all these different ways that this can play out, I’ve noticed 9 times out of 10, it’s actually my either insecurity or pride or something wrong in me that doesn’t like that, not her. Right?

There’s something in me that I either don’t like being questioned that much, I don’t like having to take the time to explain myself. I’m not patient. There’s so many… It’s very revealing to me on areas that I need to round out my growth.

And so, I would say really press into that rather than say that maybe your wife might be the impediment to it. Because that’s a really easy game that every marriage can play that just goes in a bad, bad cycle. So I would say, let it go inward on when that happens and welcome the value of your wife as a teammate that helps beyond belief on something like this.

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